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Older Prem kids in sport - age groups

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#1 Weash

Posted 28 February 2017 - 06:13 PM

I'm thankfully several years down the track from when my first DD was born prem - 32wk - 1000 grams.

She is now 12 and developing well - but still small and very skinny.

We were advised by specialists / paed. to give her an extra year of preschool to give her extra time to develop and socialise.   Her birthdate is in December, so she has always been the oldest (sometimes by 18 months) in her class.   She is still at primary school.

This hasn't been such a problem, until the last few years where she has been made to complete with her age group and thus kids from higher years.  She has found it very difficult and often is in tears.

This year she has agreed to join in a netball team - more so for the social aspect and to meet some girls in the area from other schools who may go to the same high school.  Problem is she has been placed by age and is with all high school girls who are in year 7 or 8.

Have any other mums of older prem kids faced similar problems?   How have you dealt with it?


#2 FEdeRAL

Posted 28 February 2017 - 06:48 PM

Following. December born here too @ 27w - he just started prep this year at 6.

#3 .Jerry.

Posted 28 February 2017 - 06:56 PM

My DD was December born at 27 weeks.
This didn't change her grade / starting school age, as she attended when she would have anyway.

We have faced this a little bit as she was born (just) in 2005, but due in 2006.   Not really sport related, but dance and speech eisteddfods.  She is the youngest in group and really even younger.

It doesn't seem fair, but it is what it is.  Just another little obstacle.  And it will pass.

#4 rolla_coupe

Posted 28 February 2017 - 07:01 PM

My DS ex32 weeker 1095grams is 13. He is still very tiny compared to kids the same age. He played ruby league up until half way through last season he was in under 13s but because of his size I think he felt uncomfortable as the other kids were huge compared to him. Being a December Birthday as well it's hard as all sport goes off there DOB. Even now he is doing BMX and he is in with the 13 - 14 year olds as he turns 14 this year but he is pedalling twice as fast as them.

#5 kshy

Posted 28 February 2017 - 07:18 PM

My twins were 27 weeks born end of Nov,  they are in there correct year level at school but sports has been hard,  they have tried AFL and basketball but are now doing Karate which does not go on age but skill

#6 Weash

Posted 28 February 2017 - 07:35 PM

Thanks for responding everyone.  

My DD has ASD so this also weighed in on her doing a "bonus" year of preschool in Victoria.  We have since moved to NSW where this doesn't seem to be practiced as much.

The netball team was meant to be a social skill experience outside of school and also line up some external friendships to carry into high school.  All it has done is highlight that she is so different to other girls her "age" and once again she feels out of place and not capable.   It's heartbreaking.

She also does tennis and plays an instrument.  

A team sport would be nice instead of more therapy.  :(

Sad to hear others are in the same situation, but also comforting that we are not alone.


FEdeRAL - we were told that our DD would acclimatize to the peers she was in class with - and this has certainly been the case developmentally and maturity wise.  Our only downfall has been in regards to events where children are grouped by age rather than year level at school and in nearly every instance, she is at a disadvantage.  We are not a sporting family, so it isn't that important.  But as she gets older, it is becoming more important to her.

#7 Coffeegirl

Posted 28 February 2017 - 08:10 PM

I've come in from 'we're discussing'.   I do not have a prem, however I have a child who is the youngest in his class.    He has just turned 13 at the end of Jan, while his classmates are starting to turn 14 in the next few months.

Team sports have been the hardest for us.  

School refused to let him play 'up' so he wasn't even allowed to compete in the senior teams at primary school until he was in year 6.  Whereas some of his friends were able to compete from year 4!  

Unfortunately, most sports clubs will not allow kids to play 'down' as easily as it is often against their association rules.  If a team is found to have an 'older' child competing in a team, they can and will, disqualify the team.    

I understand why they do it, especially at this age group where there is such a difference in size and shape, between kids at the same age.  But it certainly isn't always fair for the smaller child.

Does your DD enjoy swimming?  While it is an individual sports, they also have swim squads and relay teams, so she would still get the team atmosphere, without feeling so out of place?    Lots of Friday night fun squads in our area where they just race each other for fun.

Or try Oztag.   I know that my daughter's friends who do the best are usually the smallest on the team.  They are much more agile and able to twist and turn where the older girls can't.  The season is just about to finish, but I think they start up again in September?  Most the comps are just fun ones too that only meet for the games once a week, with no practises.  She could put a team together with some friends?

#8 Moukmouk

Posted 28 February 2017 - 08:18 PM

Hi OP,
I think it depends where you are. My dd has a friend who turns 11 towards the end of the year and is in year four (nsw). She is playing under 10s netball this year. So it might be worth while talking to the club.

#9 GlitteryElfFarts

Posted 28 February 2017 - 09:09 PM

This is where soccer is good, because they have what is called RAE for them. I have put the definition below because I am on the ipad. Maybe other sports need something similar.

8. Relative Age Effect (RAE)
a) The relative age effect (RAE) principle allows for Players born in the last three (3) months of the year to o set any physical disadvantage to Players born in the earlier months of the year by playing down an age group

Edited by NinnyMuggins, 28 February 2017 - 09:10 PM.

#10 ~Kestrel~

Posted 01 March 2017 - 05:55 AM

^^^ But that would be creating a 15 month age range, and if the majority of October to December kids played down then the September kids would then be the youngest and in the same situation. Do you have to have an additional reason as well as age?

#11 Sentient Puddle

Posted 01 March 2017 - 06:19 AM

As is the case in many sports - in soccer girls can also play down an age group for the first year they play.  The girls soccer teams also seem to be a little more mixed in abilities than the boys teams as the girls come to soccer over the years - often after playing other sports first and the abilities are very mixed.  You just have to find a club that has an all girls team.  Good luck

#12 Weash

Posted 01 March 2017 - 06:26 AM

Thanks for the information about RAE.

I am hoping our district association might have this in place for non competitive grades (or lower grades) of netball.

I've emailed to ask.

#13 Fourteenyears

Posted 01 March 2017 - 08:12 AM

My ex prem is now on a physical par with her peers (although she is still extremely slightly built) and she competes in a sport where kids train and compete in skill levels rather than in ages.   So no advice there.

But.....if an outside-school social group, confidence, and fitting in are your goals and age groups are an issue can I suggest you consider Scouting or Guides?

More than any other decision I have made for either of my children, I think the decision to go down that path has been a good one.  Both of my kids have very anxious personalities, and it was through the everyday activities of scouting that my older child developed some extremely effective self management strategies (my younger one has only been a member for four weeks, so too early to call there yet!)

A good group provides a supportive, inclusive environment where age is not an issue and individual achievement is celebrated.  Kids work at their own pace towards their own goals while having group fun and being very gently encouraged and supported to step outside their comfort zone, which is extremely confidence building.

#14 Weash

Posted 01 March 2017 - 08:20 AM

Thanks ElevenYears.

She's been a guide now for 5 years and still loves it.  It has been very good for her (and her sisters).

edited for spelling

Edited by Weash, 01 March 2017 - 08:20 AM.

#15 hills mum bec

Posted 01 March 2017 - 08:44 AM

My DS wasn't born prem but he does have issues relating to his sight and due to his birth date he is always the oldest in his year level.  He loves playing sport but due to his sight issues, in all honesty he's not a natural sportsperson.  In all the sports he has played (football, basketball, cricket) he has been able to get permits to play down a year with his friends.  I'm not sure on the process as it is always handled by the club but there is usually a clause in your associations constitution that will outline the requirements for a player to play down.  This is the excerpt from our cricket association as an example:

2.4. Restricted and Unrestricted Permits may be granted by the A&EHCA Junior President and Secretary in certain circumstances. An unrestricted permit may be granted for a person over the age limit who demonstrates limited cricket ability/experience. A restricted permit may be granted when a club requires older Alexandra & Eastern Hills Cricket Association Inc Constitution & By-Laws Page 22 of 39 Adopted 26 October 2016 player(s) to top up their team to ensure they have enough players. A player who receives a restricted permit will be subject to batting and bowling restrictions. Players on restricted permits are restricted to the following: Under 16’s – 25 runs and 3 overs (two day games), 13 runs and 2 overs (20/20 games); Under 14’s – 20 runs and 3 overs (two day games), 10 runs and 2 overs (20/20 games). Players on restricted permits cannot resume their innings once they have been retired for reaching the relevant score (as per above limits). The A&EHCA Junior Subcommittee reserves the right to review, modify or revoke permits at any time during the season.

#16 Bam1

Posted 01 March 2017 - 09:23 AM

Cricket is also a good sport besides the extras given to encourage girls eg gala days, girls are allowed to play down 2 years in the mixed teams and the girls teams (at least where we are) are U13 and U17, with girls able to stay in U13 after age 13 if their ability doesn't advantage the team

#17 Fourteenyears

Posted 01 March 2017 - 06:04 PM

View PostWeash, on 01 March 2017 - 08:20 AM, said:

Thanks ElevenYears.

She's been a guide now for 5 years and still loves it.  It has been very good for her (and her sisters).

edited for spelling

Oh marvellous!  

I am a bit evangelical about it (although I know more about scouts than guides) as I have seen kids blossom there - both my own and the friends my kids have talked into joining.

#18 Weash

Posted 03 March 2017 - 09:55 AM

Thank you everyone for your feedback / support.

I've been in contact with our district netball association which oversees our netball club and they do "make allowances for children with medical or developmental/social delay" so I've put in the request,

DD is very happy - let's hope they say yes.

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